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Jan Van Eyck

Jan Van Eyck

Date of Birth: unknown

A Flemish painter considered a revolutionary master who is credited with originating a style of painting characterised by minutely realistic depictions of surface effects and natural light. Little is known of his early life, and he is first heard of in 1422 working in The Hague for John of Bavaria, ruler of Holland. He then entered the service of the powerful and influential Valois prince, Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy. Van Eyck appears to have painted many religious commissions and portraits of Burgundian courtiers, local nobles, churchmen and merchants that helped to grow his reputation. His famous paintings for private clients include the Arnolfini Portrait and the Ghent Altarpiece, believed to be a collaboration with his peer, painter and possible brother, Hubert van Eyck. Jan Van Eyck was one of the leading painters of his day and his designs and methods were heavily copied and reproduced. His detailed panel paintings, achieved using new and unforeseen effects through the use of glazes, wet-on-wet and other techniques, began the myth that he had "invented oil painting."